Tray Whitening

Tooth whitening is a dental procedure that removes stains and discolouration from tooth surfaces.

Tray whitening involves a bleaching formula applied to the teeth to enhance shade and may be completed at home or in a dental practice. The existing tooth colour is lightened only; the actual colour cannot be changed. Alternative teeth whitening treatments include dental veneers that mask tooth stains and discolouration.

What does the procedure involve?

When completed within a dental practice the procedure is a follows:

  • The dentist prepares the whitening formula in custom-trays and ensures teeth are clean for treatment.
  • The trays with the whitening solution are then fitted over the teeth like a gum shield.
  • Once applied, a curing light with UV rays is used to activate the whitening gel for fast teeth lightening results.
  • The teeth whitening formula may contain a form of peroxide, either carbamide or hydrogen.
  • A root-filled tooth may require treatment with whitening formula if a tooth is discoloured due to damage.

How long does the procedure take?

Whitening trays are custom-made to fit a person's unique oral dimensions. Therefore, the first visit may involve assessment for suitability and taking of impressions, this is to ensure the correct oral measurements are noted. Thereafter, the specifications are used for creating the whitening trays.

When the trays have been created, another appointment is set for the whitening treatment to begin. Where home-based tray whitening is selected, additional trays may be made for home treatments. Your dentist monitors the whitening progress over a two to four week period. Please note that treatment times and results may vary, depending upon individual circumstances.

Why would my teeth need to be bleached?

Teeth often become discoloured with age or due to lifestyle choices such as smoking. Everyday products that may promote yellowing teeth include:

  • Tobacco
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Heavily flavoured foods.

Genetics and dental hygiene practice also play roles in the way our teeth appear too. Plaque and tartar may yellow teeth if they are not sufficiently cleaned, and teeth suffering from dental decay may brown. Medications may alter teeth colour and condition. Teeth whitening systems are designed to lighten teeth shade to a natural, whiter state.

Will I be happy with the results?

The original shade of the individual's existing teeth impacts on the success of the whitening treatment. Professionally whitened teeth may be re-treated and results usually last between one to three years. Initially, with the first treatments there is some tooth sensitivity, however this should be temporary and will subside so you can enjoy a bright, beautiful smile.

What about home kits?

A dentist can create custom whitening trays with safe amounts of whitening formula for home teeth whitening. Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits may be purchased for self-application. However results may not be as effective as a dentist-applied whitening formula would be. If excessively used and not according to manufacturer guidelines, dental health may be negatively affected.

Receiving guidance from a dentist about safe teeth whitening is recommended to prevent tooth sensitivity and damage. Dentist-supervised teeth whitening will always produce safer and more effective teeth whitening results.

When might whitening not work?

Existing tooth shade impacts the teeth whitening results. In some cases of discolouration, dental veneers may be a better alternative. Teeth whitening treatment does not work on artificial teeth or on tooth restorations, only on natural dentition. Dental restorations, such as dentures and crowns, can be professionally cleaned by a dentist. It is best to let a dentist evaluate oral condition for teeth whitening options first, as signs of decay means that the treatment will not be as effective as it should be.

What about whitening toothpaste?

Nowadays, choices in teeth whitening products are available such as whitening toothpastes. Tooth appearance may be improved if whitening toothpastes are effective at reducing stains. However stains and tooth discolouration may not be entirely removed and professional teeth whitening may be the only alternative.

 

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